Despite strikes, the association made steps in labour organizing and Civil Rights Movement work, actively opposing segregation. A great believer in free thought, Horton expired on January 19, 1990. Though growing up with small financial resources, Horton was educated by his parents to value others in his community in addition to the ability of arranging.
Horton attended Cumberland University in the 1920s, experiencing ethnic diversity. After studying at Union Theological Seminary as well as the University of Chicago from the start of 1930s, Horton traveled to Europe. He seen and scrutinized the people schools of Denmark, which highlighted social appointment of problems over more dogmatic, academic types of education.
While abroad, Horton worked out to develop a school in his home area that will give attention to individuals sharing and examining their encounters, using revelations to effect societal change and begin self-development. Having a number of others, he began the Southern Mountains School (later renamed the Highlander Folk School) in 1932 in Monteagle, Tennessee.
Highlander was known because of its advocacy for the impoverished and labour organizing, working together with the Congress of Industrial Organizations and executing training programs. The school after started courses for African American pupils using the aim of driving voter registration, and became a location for discussing Civil Rights Movement strategies.
Highlander so was a unique oasis in the officially segregated state, where black and white citizens freely co-mingled. Those who attended or educated at Highlander contain Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, Julian Bond, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer.
Highlander confronted resistance from regional governmental forces in addition to the Ku Klux Klan, with staff being physically assaulted as well as the organization facing slurs and accusations of communism from political conservatives. The school was shut down from the state in 1961, and then be reopened immediately by Horton as the Highland Research and Education Center, relocating to Knoxville. Horton believed in the need for a pluralistic, free thinking society that deviated from systems of indoctrination frequently set forth by conventional instruction. “You have got to enable them to do lots of things which don’t match any type of system.”
In 1972, Highlander moved to the grand, hilltop farm site of New Market, Tennessee, continuing its activism within the years with work on immigrant’s as well as women’s rights and anti-globalization policies. Horton retired as manager in 1973, but stayed active using the association later. He was survived by his two kids. A documentary on Highlander and its own activists You Got to Move: Narratives of Change in the South was released in 1985.